Over the past few days we have seen the unprecedented measures taken by our leaders in decreeing that businesses be shut down and people shelter in place.

The Governor of Washington state said, “Now this is a very difficult choice, and I make this difficult choice knowing it will add to the economic and family hardship many in our state are already feeling as we try to slow and turn back and this pandemic.”

While we try as we might and take these drastic steps in hopes of turning back this pandemic, the precedent set in scripture for turning back disaster, is turning away from sin and turning back to God.

When the prophet Jonah went to Ninevah to preach against it, and to warn of the wrath to come, we are told that the Ninevites believed God.

“A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3: 5-10)

What is the take away from this passage? — When we repent, God relents.

In light of that truth, during these times of tribulation, may we humble ourselves, confess our sin, and turn to God.

May we pray that our leaders decree— not just a day of prayer— but a continual time of prayer, fasting, and repentance of sin so that God would forgive us of our rebellion against Him and pour out His mercy upon us once again.

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown… But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own… Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” ~ Abraham Lincoln ( “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day” March 30th, 1863 )

Repent Believe Persevere